RSV cases tick up; mother shares her family’s experience with the virus
“My husband asked him, specifically, are we going to be taking a baby home? And he couldn’t tell us if we were or not. So every time we left the hospital, we couldn’t help but think are we going to have to go all the way home with just the two of us?”
RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) - Thanksgiving marks the kick-off to the Holiday season. Often that means spending time with family, but this year, there could be some unwelcomed guests - influenza, COVID-19, and the respiratory syncytial virus are making their rounds. One of which is hitting kids hard.
“My husband asked him, specifically, are we going to be taking a baby home? And he couldn’t tell us if we were or not. So every time we left the hospital, we couldn’t help but think are we going to have to go all the way home with just the two of us?” This was the reality for LeeVi and Ray Big Crow, who’s 2-week-old daughter spent the next few weeks of her life in the hospital with RSV.
“We kind of started noticing, like she started with kind a stuffy nose and just kind of had a fever, which when you’re a new mom, they tell you that if they have a fever, you need to take them to the ER immediately. And we did,” said LeeVi. “Our other two or our other kids, we’ve never had experience with it before and so we didn’t really know what we were up against I guess. We didn’t really know what to watch for, but we just kept thinking that something’s not right, she’s not getting any better.”
There’s been a noticeable increase in respiratory viruses in young children in recent weeks.
According to the CDC, just last week, there were a recorded 8987 positive RSV tests, double the number from a year ago.
“The younger you are, the harder time you tend to have with it,” said Dr. Kimberly Hushagen with Rapid City Medical Center. “So under six months of age, they tend to have a harder time, especially if kids were born premature, they have any underlying medical conditions may have a harder time dealing with it.”
Some common RSV symptoms include a runny nose, decrease in appetite, coughing, sneezing, fever, and wheezing. But Hushagen says some symptoms should cause more concern.
“If we’re on day five of fevers, I want to check and make sure they don’t have pneumonia or an ear infection. Otherwise, if we’re having any respiratory difficulty, so grunting with breathing, something called retractions, where kids will use their extra muscles to help breathe and pull in underneath their ribs or between their ribs,” continued Hushagen. “So breathing concerns or the other big one is dehydration. So if they’re not peeing at least three times in 24 hours, the mouth looks dry, that’s when I want to see you.”
Hushagen added that this is the typical time of year for these viruses but that the relaxing of COVID-19 precautions may be why we’re seeing such an increase of all these viruses at once.
For LeeVi Big Crow said her daughter Allison took a turn for the worse in 24 hours and to trust your gut when something feels off.
“While all this is happening, just think like how did we get here? We did everything we were supposed to do, we didn’t have visitors, and the people that did come over, we made people wash their hands and we made sure people weren’t kissing our baby,” continued LeeVi. “She was completely sedated and intubated and seeing your baby like that, is heartbreak. There’s really no other way to describe it.”
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